Just like every other aspect of the FUSION system the tether and reel represent another key aspect to improving the capability, reliability and intuitiveness of the system. The small diameter tether minimizes drag influence on the vehicle for demanding condtions, the kink free ruggedized design ensures reliability while the single point connection and reel with level wind maintain intuitiveness.
Since the FUSION is battery powered the tether can be a simple communications line for times when real time data is required. The small diameter (2.4mm) single mode fiber optic cable provides a gigabit Ethernet link between the vehicle and the topside. Understanding that fiber can be delicate a ruggedized kink free design is used to produce maximum reliabitliy. Coupling the tether to the vehicle is a single aluminum connector that integrates into the Kevlar strength member.
500 meters (1,640ft) comes standard with every FUSION system and is easily upgraded to 2,000 meters (6,500ft).
Tether management is easily accomplished with the included reel system. The reel is a compact design with a full capacity to match the longest 2,000 meter tether option. Understanding that not all missions require the longer tether the quick release spool design enables operators to quickly change between tethers.
FUSION can easily pull the tether off the reel or simply wind back in with the retractable handle. All neatly spooled on the reel with the level wind mechanism. Folding outrigger style feet provide a secure footing so that the reel does not move as tether is spooling.
The reel design matches the FUSION ruggedness with capability of operating in demanding conditions.
Since the diameter of the tether is so small it makes grip a bit more difficult. When depolyment and/or recovery require the vehicle to be lifted by the tether a convenient device is included. The device slides over the tether and locks onto the vehicle connector. With a larger line attached to the device it is much easier to handle. For deployment the secondary small line allows the device to be decoupled from the FUSION and returned to the surface.